PTAHRA AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION: TAKING BACK OUR GODS AND HOLY TEMPLES
"Nea ore pe adee ako kotoko no wonnye no aboro"
Copyright by Kwabena Faheem Ashanti, Ph.D.
Okomfo (Priest) and Nana (King)
North Carolina State University
Fax: (919) 309-1088
Now is the time for spiritual, religious, and mental liberation of African Americans, from the hegemony of European (white) Christianity, and Arab white cultural forms of Islam. As an African American Healer, in the African tradition, it is my mission to reveal again to my people their own African religious heritage, which was given to them by God and their African Ancestors.
There is an ancestral call telling us to replace Christianity, or Arab white Cultural Islam (instead of African cultural Islam), in our churches, or temples, with an African Traditional religion, (including African cultural Islam). I have given the collective African name, for all African traditional religions, the name PtahRa. This article is therefore written to assist in that process of taking back our PtahRa Gods and Holy Temples. The most significant entity in the Nyansa Tumi Sankofa
System (Social Galaxy Traditional System) for individual and group Self-Definition, and power, is Theology and Religion (Ashanti, 1996). The first laws of human nature are: (1) Man know yourself, and (2) physician heal yourself. It is religion that gives the guidelines to know Yourself, to heal yourself, and for societal power. Religion makes self-definition, liberation, and freedom real and substantial in people's lives.
Each race on the planet earth was created by God, and each race expressed its view of the world, worship, rituals, and rites in its own distinctive religion. Religion therefore was custom tailored to empower that race and to self-define it, and to have optimum life (Myers, 1988) within its environment. That religion must fit as a custom tailored suit, instead of one that you had to be forcefully made to wear. If a group or race of people is forced to abandon the religion of their ancient heritage, or no longer have the knowledge, and or, practice of their own religion, they will become oppressed and weakened. They will be dominated by the religions (Christianity or Arab Islam) of those (European and Arab whites) that have maintained their own religious traditions. The same will be true for those (Africans) that syncretize or inculturate the Gospel (Sarpong, 1996) for the good of the people with the foreign religion ( Christian ) that is dominate. When these circumstances occur, then religion becomes a psychological and spiritual straight jacket which controls and limits them to dependency on, and services to, those foreigners (whites) in control of the economic and military powers of the nation.
POWER ELEMENTS OF RELIGION
Religion is much more than spirituality; it is in a word, POWER. A religion is always, originally, created, organized, and practiced by a specific racial or ethnic group for its own needs and desires. It is a complete system of faith, and rituals of worship, which is institutionalized within a society. It encompasses styles of expression of sacred beliefs, observances, and social practices found within a given racial and cultural context. Religion therefore determines 10 power elements, that is, the form, content, and relationships of a people to it's : economy, education, government, military, culture, spirituality, art and music, architecture, funerals and burials, and even relationships with other races or ethnic groups. It is these substantive areas that give a people POWER.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is one's perceived relationship with the God of Creation, and or, any other supernatural beings, or forces that are expressions of the force of life and order, within the universe. This spirituality is most often expressed, in a formal cultural style, in established temples, shrines, or churches of an organized religion.
Whenever races, or ethnic groups, of people are able to impose their religions, by force or by coercion of missionaries, on another race or ethnic group, they become more powerful and superior, to the people they have converted. This is because the converted people are deceived by the spirituality of being "saved" or "born again" by the foreign religion. They gradually abandon their own social cultural practices and replace them with those of the other race or ethnic group.
Even when their social cultural practices, (i.e., pouring of libations) are mixed within the foreign religion, the results are the same. They become dependent on their foreign oppressors, by the practice of that foreign religion, which causes the destruction of their economy, education, form of government, military, culture, spirituality, art and architecture, morals, and interpersonal relationships within their own race, or ethnic group. Their stability and unity become easily manipulated, by the foreign or domestic powers, to destroy each other through internal conflict or war. This becomes a kind of religious circumcision, which chops off their own previous power, by being exposed the power of the oppressor.
The only beneficiaries are the outside manipulators, and their inside brainwashed trained puppet traitors . In the case of religion, whom are these brainwashed trained and educated traitors ? They are none other than the bishops, preachers, ministers, imams, missionaries, and royal leaders. They are the ones that recruit, teach, and lead the masses to spirituality, while excluding their people from the other 9 power elements of religion. They are also the ones who receive the most benefits for their deeds. These benefits include money, positions of authority, and opportunities for themselves, their relatives, and friends.
In their sermons, preaching and addresses, they are only permitted by the controlling powers to discuss or talk about issues of spirituality. This spirituality only relates to issues of life after death, and the social relationships between the members of their own society. They stay away from the true issues of the other 9 elements of religion, such as: economic, political, military, and educational oppression by the other race or ethnic controlling group. Instead, the black preachers blame the black believers for their lack of power and causing their own oppression because of their sinful behavior. These issues are only dealt with through the illusion of religious spirituality. By this I mean, the people are told to pray and live a moral life, and God will fight the battles for the other 9 power elements. They and the preachers therefore do not have to take any risks. God becomes the risk taker instead.
It is written : "God helps those who help themselves "; " if you take one step, God will take three for you "; and, " never serve a foreign God and religion ". Without personal risk there is no power to defend, or a quality life worth living. The Creator God always raises up prophets among your own people, who looks like you, to lead you back to your own African Traditional Religion and spirituality. Take back your African Gods and Holy Temples ( Sankofa ) .
In society, those who define, and describe God and your religion, will always have the power to define and to control you. No races or ethnic groups with nuclear power, weapons, and wealth in the global world, worships or observes the religions of outsiders, or speaks the languages of other people, as their first tongues. Those races and ethnic groups who are militarily weak, powerless, and economically poor, generally worship other powerful people's religions, and speak their languages as their official languages ( English, French, German, Portuguese ). Moreover, they even take on their names, cultures, and rituals ( Christmas, Easter, Mass, weddings, ect. ).
The NTAM KESE ( holocaust ) of African enslavement in the Western European world, forced African Americans to allow a diabolically clever weaker people to brainwash them. Chains were first placed on their bodies for forced labor, and later the religion of Christianity placed spiritual chains on their minds and souls. These chains choked off their own African Tradition Religion.
It is well documented and known that Christianity played a dominant role in maintaining enslavement of African Americans. Christianity taught them to be humble, to suffer abuse by turning the other cheek, and to serve white slave masters. The chains were forged imperceptibly, link by link, and Africans in America submitted to survive. The brainwashing against African religion and cultures, re-education in white supremacy, and later mis-education, caused them to feel, and in many cases, become inferior to white peoples. It also caused health problems. These chains of physical and psychological events transformed African peoples into " Negroes ", and now "minorities".
Where they once recognized Mawu, or Nyame, the Creator, and Vodu or Abosom as their religion, now Mawu (God) is thought of as the devil and the Vodu or Abosom religion, as African witchcraft. This is the power of brainwashing. Even the white conservative leader of the Christian Coalition, Pat Robinson, said on the October 27, 1997 edition of The 700 Club, " Why would people in America want to embrace the religion of slavers (Muslims), and the language of the slavers ( Muhammad, 1997 ). I say the same things, because the same Christianity that the white Rev. Pat Robinson, the blacks Rev. T. D. Jakes, and Rev. Creflo Dollar serves, is the same one that enslaved my ancestors. I do not embrace the religion or the language of my enslavers either.
The African God and Gods were destroyed in African American's minds, and a white God named Jesus ( white skin, blue eyes, long keen nose, and long straight hair ), was given to save their souls in heaven. The African temples and shrines, were destroyed and replaced by the Christian church. No longer were African people allowed to give themselves or their children African spiritual names; they had to use Christian names, i.e., John, Mary, James, Josephine, Smith, Williams and Jones.
The brainwashing and mis-education caused white cultures and religion to be more acceptable and desirable to Africans in America. These Africans then became less and less resistant to white Definitions of themselves, and they strove to become more like Whites. Many became alienated to their own African heritage and began to identify with other white ethnic groups and races. For example, there is a large social organization of African American women who identify with American Indians, who call themselves "squaws", their children "papooses", and their men "Braves". These are all American Indian terms or labels. There are also African American fraternities and sororities that call themselves "Black Greeks" (black white people). Most of these people are Christians, hardworking, good citizens, educated in white controlled colleges, under employed or work in positions that do not empower their people, suffer racial discrimination, stressed out, and are spiritually unfulfilled. They attempt to do the right things, be humanitarians to others, and racially and socially integrate with white society. However, there is still little economic, psychological and spiritual freedom among them. They are deceived and do not even know it.
There are positive trends and signs manifesting in African American communities, however. The African-centered movement (Asante, 1990), the cultural holiday of Kwanzaa and the principles of Nguzo Saba (Karenga, 1980), are calling attention again to African spirituality and culture. In formal social celebrations, the West African religious Kente cloths are proudly worn by many, and Libations are poured to the Ancestors. In Christian churches the preachers and choir members are beginning to wear African robes. These factors are beginning to raise questions, consciously and unconsciously, in the minds of African Americans. Soon, they will discover that they have been bringing into the Christian churches African religious symbols and rituals without realizing it. This is by wearing Kente clothes , African robes, and pouring Libations.
PTAHRA TRADITIONAL AFRICAN RELIGION
PtahRa African traditional religion encompasses those beliefs and practices originating in Africa. Some of the sub- names for PtahRa are: Vodu, Abosom, Orisha, Chi, Imana, and Bwami. African Cultural Islam ( i.e., Nation of Islam ), and Hebrew, are also traditional African religions. African religions are not derived from European Christian, or European white Jewish, East Asian Indian, or "Arabic cultural Islamic" religions. All PtahRa African religions are actually derived from the Classical Kemetic (Egypt) Medu Netcher ( Gods ) religion of the African pharaonic periods. In other words, African religion is the oldest religion on the --planet. The beliefs and practices are the indigenous practices that have existed, in traditional Africa, since the beginning of it's known history.
There are many different peoples, societies, cultures and linguistic groups in Africa; however, they all share quite a comcommonalty within their ontological and cosmological perspectives. This commonalty reveals itself in two ways: first within the form of the rites and rituals practiced, and second -- but not always-- within the content of these same rituals and rites. It is because such commonalties can be identified, that traditional spiritual practices of Africa are often referred to as one African Religion.
The basic forms or structures common within the spectrum of African religious practices are as follows:
1.A concept of one God-Almighty, the Creator of many names, who is male and female in one. The Creator then produced the lesser Gods and Spirits from her/his own essencense.
2.Propitiation and communication with lesser Spirits and Gods.
3. Reverence for (not worship) and communication with the Ancestors.
4. Sacred rituals and symbols for lessor Gods.
The different names for the Creator, who is considered to be the ultimate source of all things, have marked linguistic differences among Africa's, over 1,000 various ethnic populations. Each language ethnic group has a name for God, group names for lessor Gods, and the Ancestors. The names of the different Ancestors and Gods vary according to the geogeographical, ethnic, and linguistic areas in which they are found. However, they all have the same common meaning and unity.
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